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Premium starting hands in Texas Hold’em

May 1, 2018

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You’ve learned about the poker hand hierarchy and you’ve got the basic rules of the game down pat! The next thing you need to build more confidence at the table is the knowledge of which hands you should start out playing.

Premium Starting Hands

It’s your turn to bet and now you’re wondering if your hand is strong enough to justify a call or raise, or maybe you should fold? Below are the generally accepted, top ten starting hole card hands in Texas Hold’em poker. They are considered premium hole cards and are potential hand-winning cards. With these cards, you will certainly want to play the hand, but be sure to consider your position on the table.

Pocket Aces (Bullets) – Considered the best starting hole cards in Hold’em, AA are playable from any position.

Pocket Kings (Cowboys) – Considered the second best starting hole cards, KK are playable from any position.

Pocket Queens (Ladies) – Great strength pre-flop but becomes difficult to play post-flop when over-cards hit.

AKs(uited) (Big Slick) – This is the fourth strongest starting hand, even against KK and is a significant favorite against the rest.

AQs(uited) (Little Slick) – This hand is strong but can easily be dominated in typical all-in pre-flop scenarios.

Pocket Jacks (Fishhooks) – Many players claim paired jacks are the most difficult top 10 starting hand to play. While being one of the top 10 best starting hand, JJ versus AA-QQ and AKo-AQs is vulnerable.

KQs(uited) (Royal Couple) –While this hand is best suited to make straights and flushes, it can put you in difficult positions when flopping top pair, as you quite possibly will not have the best kicker.

AJ (Ajax) – These hole cards can be difficult to play from early position because you will never get folds from better aces, and you won’t get the value of a top pair. However, it does have value in its ability to make the nut straight or flush.

AKo(ff-suit) (Big Ugly)  – The strongest unsuited, non-pair. This hand is easy to overplay and over value in tournaments and in ring games.

TT (TNT) – Extremely strong vs two random cards, yet as with JJ, it can be difficult to play.

Now that you’re familiar with the basic rules and best hands of poker, betting, position and premium starting hands, you’re ready to take a seat and begin your poker adventure!